NHTSA Investigating MINI Cooper for Power Steering Failures

NHTSA Investigating MINI Cooper for Power Steering Failures

It’s been announced that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently opened an investigation into possible power steering failures in MINI Cooper cars.

NHTSA decided to investigate after receiving complaints from 54 drivers and confidential field reports where the MINI Cooper suddenly lost power steering assistance. The issue seems to only be presenting itself in 2004 and 2005 model year cars. The good news is that there haven’t been any reported incidents and most drivers were able to gain control of their vehicle. One source of the problem, according to the NHTSA, could involve a power steering pump failure.

When reached for comment, BMW North America said the carmaker is aware of the investigation but has not yet received formal notification from NHTSA.

[Source: CNN Money]

  • Hope

    Last night the power steering failed on my 54 mini cooper going round a country bend, it was terrifying as I ended up in the middle of the road! I stopped the car, restarted and it was virtually impossible to drive home! This morning it was ok but I am going to be taking it to the nearest garage this mornng! My question is are mini obliged to fix it or do I have to fork out for this myself, which could cost up to £800!!!!

  • Sam Neale

    I have had the same thing happen to me recently on my 04 mini cooper – power steering pump failed whilst driving a weeek ago. Repair quote for pump alone £495
    not inc labour

  • George

    I believe this is a fairly well known issue with the 1st generation Mini Coopers. In researching the purchase of a used 2004 model from a co-worker I asked for a list of potential problems from members of the North American Motoring Mini owners board and checking out the PS pump fan was high on the list. I was fortunate that the previous owner had already experienced and dealt with the issue. Debris gets stuck in the fan for the pump and chokes it – killing the fan and the pump. The fan has to be cleared occasionally. Aftermarket fan shields are one solution and the factory redesigned the part to provide the needed protection – in which case you do not need the fan shield.

    Two other problems of the 1 Generation cars are door sill rust – check under your rubber door seals. Mini has extended the rust warranty because of this issue and I had mine repaired. There is a TSB covering this issue. The other big potentil problem is the possibility of leaks around the crank seal/gasket. The seal dries up and allow oil to be pumped out as it’s near the crank damper. It’s a relatively easy fix (once you get the entire front of the engine apart) but if it’s not dealt with it can cause oil starvation and serious engine issues. Another place to look for oil leaks is at the crank sensor. The O-ring around it shrinks and allows oil to pass often as early as 30,000 miles. However the reason this is such an issue is that it will leak down the front of the block and simply blow off when driving never show up on a drive-way while parked. Again the fix entails pulling the front off the car and replacing a relatively cheap part.

  • Brijak

    Power steering has just failed on my wife’s MINI Cooper despite later pump being fitted some years ago. Will be seeking recompense from BMW.

  • David Watts

    I had a power steering failure on my 2004 mini cooper, a couple of years ago. My mini has generally been quite an enjoyable car but its reliability could be improved. Other problems have included:
    – Catalytic converter failed at a weld ($1,000)
    – Windshield corner cowling blew off on freeway (under warranty)
    – Window intermittently will not shut
    – Rattle near windshield
    – Various alignment and bushings needed attention/replacement (perhaps standard for all cars?)
    – and, of course the gas mileage is nothing like its quoted number.
    However to be fair, my car has 115k miles and I rather like driving it.

    David Watts.

  • Micheal Dillon

    About a week apart my 02CooperS power steering went and the airbag light came on. I have yet to get either fixed as the power steering comes and goes intermittently. These two issues take away from an otherwise lovely car. Even still i find it hard to get out of the car without a smile on my face 🙂


  • Lucy

    Power steering just went out on my 2004 Mini. After reading all of the comments and complaints I see this is a fairly common problem. When is BMW going to take this seriously and compensate for the repair??????? Are they waiting for someone to get hurt or even killed?

  • Jordan

    If you have had this problem, the best solution would be to contact the NHTSB and file a complaint. It only took about 15 minutes to file over the phone and the number is on the website. The more people speak up about this, the more pressure BMW will feel to fix it.

  • cc

    Just had $4400 in repairs done a week ago, yesterday my 05′ Mini S, power stering went out while I was parked (thank God) and an electrical fire started! Horrific experience! BMW will not take accountability, they said it was coincidental. Total BS! Toyota took responsibility, why can’t BMW Mini?!

  • Randy

    My 05 mini copper power steering pump went out this week. Why should BMW do anything. They are getting plenty of repair work. At $440 a pop just for the pump plus the labor.

  • Kim

    My 03 Mini had a powers steering failure this week. The power steering fan had been replaced in fall 2009 under warranty. I am being denied assistance from Mini. Filed a complaint with NHTSA today.



  • Frank

    2004 mini S 72400 miles my steering pumps is being replaced today

    you should file a complaint on this website https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/
    or call 1-800-831-1117 it only takes a few minutes

    this problem is already under investigation by the NHTSA so the more people complain the more likely they will do something about it. Also if they do recall

    the steering pump and you already paid for the repair they have to refund you the cost

  • Tom

    02 Mini Cooper S……37,000 miles. Power steering failed due to a blown fuse. Shop where I left it said they’ve taken care of 6 or 8 Mini’s with the same problem in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They said it usually requires a steering pump and cooling fan replacement…and that it runs $1500 in their shop for the repair.
    After going thru this, I checked Car Fax and found the mileage to be original mileage, but, the steering pump was replaced once before in 06 at a BMW dealer in Pennsylvania. Could not join the class action suit that is in the courts since last fall, because they said my problem was not the same as their clients cases, even though they lost power steering the same as I did. Go figure…..I did report my case to NHTSA.

  • Marcia

    52 plate Mini Cooper, mileage 67880 … just come back from getting my power steering pump replaced and pressure line. I mentioned that this was a common problem from what was written on various forums, so BMW only charged me £132.77 as a goodwill gesture. Pretty good of BMW, but if it is a known problem than really it should have been fixed for free. I think the reason why it wasn’t free was because of the age of the car, not under warranty, didn’t buy from new, but hey it’s not my fault it is a fault with first generation minis!

  • Lisa Wilson Grant

    This happened to me in my 2005 Mini Cooper S as I rounded the bend into a side road. Was scary, and hard to steer. Was afraid I wouldnt have the precision to back into the garage. This morning it was ok again. Then when I left a parking lot it was failed again. Seems like every other time intermittent. Im going to have it looked at to see if its the little fan or if its the entire PSP. Hopefully not, as its too expensive for me,

  • barb94044

    $2000 repair made today. Power steering pump shorted out taking the pump, wires, and harness with it. This is not okay. I cannot believe Mini will not step up to the plate and do the right thing.

  • Ted S

     If this keeps up NHTSA will be forced to issue a recall. MINI reliability really is the pits.

  • Charles

     I have a 2004 Cooper S with the same thing happened. This was back in January 2011. My Cooper has about 110,000+ miles at the time. I had stop at a red light, when the light came green, I started to move and loss the power steering during a turn.

     The power steering  came back working for a couple of days after engine shut off with some time to cool down and restarting. Before it completely went out, I notice the power steer fan would stay on after the engine was shut off. Also, I notice the pump was making a “humming” sound ( I believed this “humming” drain the battery as well. I was able to jump start the first time. The next day I parked the car and went to work in the morning, by the evening I go off work, the battery was completely dead) .

    I filed a complaint to NHTSA as many people suggested online. They call me back about 6 months later saying that MINI USA was willing to pay for the cost of replacing the power steering pump, and they did. During that 6 month I was okay driving without the power steering. But it is very difficult to get in and out of parking spots.

  • Lorraine D

    I took my son out on L plates todayI in my 2004 Mini and the power steering went heavy, rectified its self after few seconds but scared my son to death as he had no control of the steering. Went shopping a little time later, came out same thing again. Can any one tell me what my next move should be. Not a happy camper.